The Demand for Senior Living Technology Is Growing: A Multi-Conference Recap
Nationwide, senior living communities continue to deal with a range of hurdles, from emerging COVID variants to staffing shortages.
To better understand how technology can help communities clear these hurdles, we sent several members of our team to three senior living conferences across the US (LeadingAge Illinois, Argentum, and LeadingAge California).
What we found was that senior living providers aren’t just leveraging technology in new ways; they’re seeking new platforms and devices. Keep reading for takeaways from each conference, plus industry trends to keep an eye on.
LeadingAge Illinois: Senior Living Providers Recognize the Power of Technology
LeadingAge Illinois was bubbling with energy. Though there weren’t many attendees compared to years past, those who came were thrilled to reignite relationships with prospects and competitors alike.
Fortunately, this intimate environment meant everyone could have more in-depth conversations that covered more ground, from staffing retention strategies to best practices for implementing resident engagement platforms.
Engaging in these conversations illuminated one clear takeaway: senior living providers are clamoring for technology. In fact, a recent study shows that 87 percent of senior living providers agree that senior living technology will transform the competitive space for communities.
Argentum: Smaller Differentiators Set Technology Solutions Apart
Turnout at Argentum was also light, but conversations there were similarly meaningful, for two reasons:
- Attendees came with plenty of research. Those who showed up asked action-oriented questions such as, “How do you manage each voice assistant device in your community?” not “What is voice assistant technology?”
- Vendors were competing less and collaborating more. In previous years, vendors competed for attendee attention. This year, it was easier to frequently talk with competitors about ways to integrate solutions for the benefit of older adults and senior living staff.
Beyond that, the talk of the town was innovation – specifically, what it takes to break out. Right now, there are some emerging technologies (VR and care robots, to name two) but most of the solutions resemble one another.
High-level similarities make small differentiators stand out. For example, do residents activate your voice assistant technology by asking “Hey, Alexa…?” or with a longer phrase like “Hey, [Name of Senior Living Community], ask Alexa…?”
As communities start to frequently implement senior living technology, the vendors who offer the most streamlined, accessible solutions will be more attractive.
LeadingAge California: The Value of Your Tech Hinges on Providing Residents with the Right Support
Many conversations at LeadingAge California revolved around how California’s senior living industry invests in young talent to build staffing pipelines. These investments vary, but most involve programs targeted at recent college graduates.
But attracting young talent is just one way communities are preparing for the expected rise in the older adult population. Communities are also increasingly using data from Amazon Alexa and smart home devices to inform care.
Let’s say data shows a community’s older residents aren’t using Alexa as much as younger residents. Staff can use these findings to start conversations with members of this older group and uncover the reason. If residents aren’t using Alexa because they don’t understand it, staff can offer more training.
The goal with Alexa and other smart home technology is to improve the aging experience. Older adults value their independence. Providing voice assistant technology and smart home devices helps them maintain autonomy.
Competitors to Partners: Working Together to Improve Senior Living Care
When we returned to Chicago, every member of the Caremerge team reported the same thing: discussing collaboration opportunities with fellow vendors.
The staffing shortage won’t go away on its own. And as the older adult population grows – to a projected 80 million by 2040 – senior living communities will need to creatively solve their staffing crises to provide exemplary care.
Viewing competitors as potential business partners could help communities enhance their senior living technology solutions to attract residents and staff.
If you want to learn more about how tech solutions can support your community,